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Graham Awards


Renting forever? Many older tenants accept they may rent long-term

A new report from the Social Market Foundation and sponsored by the Paragon Bank has thrown new light on what today’s older tenants expect from the rental sector, and how they see their long-term housing requirements.

SMF’s survey of over 1,300 tenants showed that 61 per cent of tenants in the 35 to 54 age bracket currently expect to still be renting in 15 years’ time, falling to just under a third for those aged 34 or under. 

Over four in five renters aged 55 or over believe they will still be renting in 15 years.


In terms of what is important to more mature tenants with regards to the location of the property, there are clear differences in priorities compared with those in younger age brackets.

Nearly half of those aged 55 or over said that being close to shops was in their top three priorities, compared to 32 per cent of those aged between 35 and 54. 

Good transport facilities (40 per cent), being close to friends and family (36 per cent) and proximity to health services (34 per cent) also scored highly for those aged 55-plus.


With regards to what renters want from a property, 41 per cent of those aged 55-plus said having an unfurnished property was in their top three priorities, compared to 16 per cent of 35 to 54 year olds and 11 per cent of 18 to 34 year olds. 

This age bracket also expressed a greater desire for pets, with 21 per cent stating this was a top priority, compared to 14 per cent of those aged 34 or under. 

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    As a landlord I can see real trouble ahead if you are still renting when retirement is close at hand., unlike those who have a mortgage, those that rent have no end date to stop paying the ever increasing amounts of money, no doubt on an ever decreasing pension, god help them.

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    Well I can only have so much sympathy if you reach retirement and haven’t sorted out a home to live in, what have you being doing for 50 years, maybe your kids can accommodate you. God help me.

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    Renting in later life strikes me as very sensible.
    Being able to easily and relatively cheaply try out a new area or new style of housing after children leave home. There's no SDLT, estate agents commission or conveyancing fees with renting. As you get older there are lots of private sector retirement developments where renting is possible. Retirement council housing never had the Right to Buy and Councils seem to be building lots of retirement flats so there is a reasonable chance of getting one.
    Not having to worry about building maintenance or being ripped off by people pretending to be tradesmen seems like a nice idea.
    People who haven't made any provision for retirement will be poor wherever they live. Surely it's better to be in an over 55s council flat so whatever benefit top up fully covers the rent. Being a poor owner occupier worrying about how to pay for roof repairs would be horrendous.

    For people with savings or better pensions renting gives so much flexibility and potentially better quality of life. The ability to easily move into a purpose built development should mobility or health problems problems occur is worth a lot. A homeowner would take months to sell their home and be able to move whereas a tenant can spot an ideal property and commit to it instantly knowing they only have to give a months notice on their current home.

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    Very good no worries about Capital gains or Inheritance tax so no debt duty to die.

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    Jo Westlake - I do like your “ sunny upland “ view of what it would be like to live on a council estate, I happen to work in an “ industry “ that deals with those living on them an awful lot……. Not a cat in hell’s chance would that be my dream destination in retirement . I guess when people are younger being evicted is taken in your stride but if you’re in the PRS and your landlord decides he or she has had enough…… you are now homeless! And you could be in your 80’s. I do not see it as a good choice, now if you owned outright a property or three, and sold them all and then rented …. Brilliant, you now have a choice, but without that capacity to choose, you will always be at the behest of someone else.


    Simon - I'm not saying a council retirement flat (which often aren't on council estates) would be a dream destination but for a great many people it is a very good option. We own the former matron's house on a council retirement development. It's a lovely development of 16 bungalows, communal gardens, close to shops, doctors, dentists, on a bus route, etc in one of the most expensive postcodes in the city. It's a proper community with people sat outside their bungalows chatting to eachother or tending to their window boxes and hanging baskets. Obviously council estates vary around the country and some of them are far better than others.

    Clearly wealth gives more options but personally I think the worst option of all is to be a poor homeowner without the physical or financial ability to maintain your home.

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    The best option young & old get on the Council preferably in a LL’s private property, complain about everything and milk the system for ever how can you top that.
    Working Tenants can’t compete and rules stacked against them. I had a request today to know if I would reduce the rent by £300. pm, even though it already below similar properties in the area, for good measure I have also had notification for Council the license needs renewing again £1’550. Application fee, there you go over £5’000, in one hit, never mind all the other costs.


    Reduce the rent by £300 ? cheek, you are of course now going to increase it by £300 I hope.


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